Google Amending Titles in Search Results

Recently there have been many discussions around specific examples of Google changing the title within Search Engine results pages (SERP). It’s a well known fact that Google do not always use the Meta Description that you specify but altering the title from a specified title tag on a site raises some interesting issues and discussion points.

Clickthrough rate and rankings

Some SEOs will argue that as long as their Search Engine rankings do not drop as a direct consequence of Google amending their title within the search results, then who cares? I would be interested to see if this has a positive or negative impact on clickthrough rates? What if the new Title that Google presents in the search results increases your clickthrough rate? How does Google know which title best represents your companies brand, services or product offering? Is this even possible to automate in an effective way that will only result as a positive experience for all – website owners, search engines and of course everyday people that are searching. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are lots of thought provoking questions but what does Google have to say on the matter?

Google’s Matt Cutts responded to SEOs with following “We reserve the right to try to figure out what’s a better title.”

Google’s John Mueller also says:

In general, when we run across titles that appear to be sub-optimal, we may choose to rewrite them in the search results. This could happen when the titles are particularly short, shared across large parts of your site or appear to be mostly a collection of keywords. One thing you can do to help prevent this is to make sure that your titles and descriptions are relevant, unique and compelling, without being “stuffed” with too much boilerplate text across your site.

And Google says:

“Make sure that each page on your site has a useful and descriptive page title (contained within the title tags). If a title tag is missing, or if the same title tag is used for many different pages, Google may use other text we find on the page. The HTML suggestions page in Webmaster Tools lists pages where Google has detected missing or problematic title tags. (To see this page, click Diagnostics in the left-hand menu of the site Dashboard. Then click HTML suggestions.)”

It’s imperative to monitor the pages that generate the majority of your traffic as any noticeable decreases could well be due to a change in the way your page is displayed in the search results.

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